Gotta chill. I have a strange restlessness in me. Sure, I’m overdue on a few bills, I’m waiting for a paycheck. That always drives me nuts. But this is more than that. I’m physically restless. I guess the point just came when I realised that I haven’t done shit to make my mark on the world for the last few years. I mean I’ve actually been enjoying the obscurity of programming. The subtle zen sense of invisible glory… of a job well done but unknown. There are beautiful things about teaching yourself to do something that almost nobody understands, fewer appreciate, even fewer respect, and almost none find beautiful.
It’s one way to live. But one thing it does lack is beauty. Beauty is meant to be shared. It is bursting to be shared. The “beauty” of code is very odd. No matter how much I love or appreciate the code I write, it’s never going to inspire someone. It’s far to practical for that. It’s not beautiful in that way. It may do a beautiful job of making something happen. But in it’s own right it’s not beautiful to anyone besides the person who wrote it.
I will make beautiful things again. In their own right. Beautiful in that they change people, or make them think, or make them cry or just make them smile. I can’t live in this cocoon anymore. My feet have to walk, my hands have to work. My body has to move. The things I make… I want them to bring me closer to people. To help me understand them and to help them understand me.
I think I’m lucky. I was chillin’ with my dad the other day and he encouraged me to quit my job and do full-time photography again. What kind of cool dad tells you to quit your stable, respectable job as a programmer and go be an artist?
I think if I did it I would have to spend a year or so building my portfolio up first. Cool thing is that it will take me about a year to get out of debt.
I had a phone conversation yesterday with a man who tried to excuse an anti-asian comment with an anti-semitic analogy.
I never know what to do when stuff like this happens. I was totally stunned that this fucker would say something like that. I was angry. Furiously so. This is a guy I work with (sort of) and it was supposed to be a professional conversation, it caught me completely off guard. I was so stunned for a moment I just didn’t say anything. The next time I see him I’ll probably hit the guy. I’m more mischievous than that so maybe I’ll just cut his break lines or something. Just kiddin’. But I’ll think about doing that. I mean what the hell do you do when you run into racist pigs just walking around on the street?
Bordering Straight Edge
There’s a light in the corner of my office. The office which is my studio. The studio which is my apartment. It’s small and bright and the glow is orange. These old incandescent lights are my favourites. Nothing else feels so warm.
Tonight it’s pissing me off. It’s the mortal enemy in a very small war. It provides an ambient feeling that fits with my mood and is totally getting in the way of putting that mood into words. I’ve got three monitors glowing in front of me and this damn little light is causing a reflection in all the wrong places. I squint, I shuffle from left to right in my comfy office chair, nothing helps.
I’m in between choice and obligation. The transition hasn’t exactly begun yet, but it’s coming. The obligation of paying off debt and the choice of what to do with my life when the debts are gone.
I never think that much about accountability but it has been a rigidly defining element in my life. Especially in the last few years. It’s like this… If you fuck up. If you make the wrong choice you should deal with it. Don’t hide. Don’t deny the error. Fess up to the mistake and do what you can to fix it. Until it is fixed. Do not stop until it is fixed. This is generally how I am compelled to live my life. Sometimes it feels like a sickness. Sometimes it feels like brilliance. I won’t get into that now. Let’s just say it’s just me.
The bitch about accountability is that if the error is tricky enough to fix it can take a hell of a lot of time to fix it. Take this debt for example. It’s pretty easy to get into debt. Greed, necessity, ambition, catastrophe, you name it. I’ve been stiffed by clients, I’ve spent too much money, I’ve budgeted and I’ve failed to budged. For too many reasons I’ve ended up in debt. And getting out of debt is a ferocious bitch.
In the last five years I haven’t had a single day when I didn’t think about my debt and how to get rid of it. For the last three years I’ve been working my ass off to get out of it.
Tonight I am finishing up a contract for work that will bring me damn close to being completely out of it. It’s going to take another 1000 hours of work and probably 8 months of my time, but it will be done. And it makes me smile. I can’t walk away from this responsibility. I can’t. I have to finish it up or I won’t be the person I need to be. So I work, and delay the other things I could be doing. But tonight is different. Tonight I know I will soon be able to choose something different.
I think that’s what straight edge is all about for me. It’s about accountability and choice. You’re accountable for everything you do and this accountability gives you the ability to arguably defend your choices. No excuses for mistakes. No bullshit. You just learn from what you do or fail to do and move on. You admit mistakes. No pride. No ego. Just fucking do what you can to make this world better. Or yourself better. Or to help your friends. To once and for all do the things that I want to do and to defend my choice to do it. Nothing is fun if I have a burden on my shoulders. Mental, financial, physical, chemical, whatever. I’m accountable for my own life so I might as well make it what I want it to be. Straight edge.
Woke up this morning snuggled up with my girl on her totally cool new couch bed thing. I might just have to get one of those myself. I don’t sleep on my bed, I sleep on my couch. I don’t like my bed and her couch is vastly superior to mine. On my couch I wake up alternately with tweaked neck muscles, tweaked back muscles or hilarious imprints from the fabric of the couch on my entire body. Sometimes all three.
But that’s not my point. It was nice to wake up snuggled with someone. You know the feeling… a cold winter night and a warm arm thrown over your ribs and around your belly. A warm leg over yours. 2 am tug-o-war for the blankets. Getting anchored by cats, an 80 lb rottweiler puppy, or whatever fuzzy pet you might have in the house. Yeah, you know the feeling. Makes a guy want to clean up his apartment and get himself a comfortable mattress.
My window is open and I’m sitting shirtless in a breeze of midnight air (sorry ladies, no photo ;-). This is unusual for January in Eugene. It’s 58 degrees according to the thermometer in my car. After more than a week in the 30s it feels like 85.
I’m restless. I’m going just a little bit bonkers. I never know how to figure restlessness out. Is there genuinely something wrong, something that needs to be fixed? Is it all in my head? Is it just chemical? The confusing result of a chemical imbalance from stress? Too much work? Too little sleep? Sometimes I’m just too bored of this feeling to do anything about it. I seek distraction or purpose and motivation. It never seems to fix the problem though. I always end up right back here. Restless. Restless and clueless. I don’t know what’s missing. I have no idea. It’s a weird aching feeling that’s probably going to get worse until I take the time to figure it out.
Sometimes I wonder if there’s some sort of condition that describe me. Some medical term of “ariism” or some shit like that. Ariism: the condition of being a hopeless basket case who suffers from a strangely partial sense of self awareness, a lack of motivation, and a tendency to over-engineer his порно life.
Ug. I’m going to sleep. This fresh air is too nice though. Maybe I’ll just sit here for a while staring at the ceiling, trying to catch my cat, Josie, and pet her for a bit. She’s pretty shy. Really shy actually.
So… I traded my green Jetta for a grey Jetta. I’m much happier with the grey one. No seat heaters but it’s got an extra gear. And that’s nice. I’ll be paying for it until the end of time and that’s ok. It’s the one of the last of the Jetta GLIs with the MK4 body style and I’ve wanted one for a long time. The new jetta body style (the mk5) is coming out soon and they aren’t pretty. Looks just like any other car.
Some things can’t be fixed by a good fast drive on the back roads of Eugene. Most things can’t be actually. There’s got to be maintenance. I think that’s the key. You have to do a little bit every day to keep shit from falling apart.
I’ve been looking at my life in retrospect tonight. The last few years have been positive and negative. Black and white. Honestly I know that a good amount of the trouble I was having a while ago was made much worse by the fact that I wasn’t taking time to maintain even the most baseline level of health. Mental or physical. Given, I was pretty damn overwhelmed with the hellstorm of crap happening around and to me. But I am convinced that today isn’t any easier in terms of funky stuff happening, it just feels easier because I’m actually taking care of myself physically and mentally.
The funny bit though, is that this whole healthy thing is completely foreign to me. My past has been governed by luck, strength and endurance. Not health, intelligence or planning. I feel like I’m growing up in some pretty fundamental and tangible ways. It’s odd. Very odd.
So I’m trading in my car today. I’m not totally sure that it’s all going to work out financially but I am totally sure that I do want to do it. I spent most of the weekend sort of pondering whether or not I wanted to do it, but the fact is that this one item is the only thing in my life that still has my ex-wife’s name attached to it. Yup, shared title. And that’s something I want to change. Plus, it’s green and it’s got a leather interior. Both of which I despise. It was her choice of cars. So that will be cool. I figure it’s a good way to start the week.
I got all of my smaller projects done this weekend. I wanted to clear all of that stuff out so that I could focus on my new job. This new project is going to be pretty committing. I’m excited about it. But I don’t want a damn thing to get in the way. Cool enough…. More later.